The biodiversity and food security department (BFS) aims at improving the Palestinian livelihood and natural resource management through improving food security and biodiversity sectors in occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in a sustainable manner. To accomplish its goal the BFS department builds information systems for food security status in the Palestinian territory based on the most effective data collection tools used in investigating vulnerability status of poor households in oPt.
The BFS department researches and investigates the current nutritional health of most needy local Palestinian communities to increase capacities of stakeholders in understanding the status, challenges and gaps of those communities, as well as developing proper food security strategies to alleviate their food production activities in a sustainable approach. ARIJ further uses the obtained results in planning and implementing new developmental activities and in assessing the impact of existing activities to assist effectively in alleviating food security and sustaining livelihoods in OPT.
Alleviating the awareness of local people concerning best food intakes, practices, consumption patterns and selections, etc., is a special intervention given attention to enhance and encourage Palestinians to adopt better practices in food consumption and coping strategies when food is not available and thus to decrease the nutritional diseases and the impact of food insecurity at household level.
Furthermore, the BFS department investigates the Palestinian biological diversity and its relations with natural resources and ecosystems' balance. The status of major plant, animal, marine resources, pressures on biodiversity, as well as, biodiversity sustainable development indicators, are all areas investigated towards understanding and improving the sector at country level. In addition, the department investigates the effect of climatic change and doughtiness on the vegetation cover and its landscapes, as an attempt to understand the causes behind desertification in opt. These studies include compiling an inventory of Palestinian forests, through which forests are surveyed for their biotic and abiotic characteristics. All data is collected in special database system and linked to the geographical information system, and remote sensing technology.
And as a step forward towards biodiversity conservation, the BFS department also works at updating the flora fauna and herbarium database through preparing a calendar for plant species growing in the country at different seasons over different ecosystems.
The Biodiversity & Food Security fields of Intervention:
- Assess food security status and drivers behind food insecurity.
- Inter-relate food security, poverty and health conditions into a Palestinian context.
- Suggest solutions through livelihood alleviation interventions, food safety nets, etc.
- Develop and update web-based database for assessing status of main factors behind food insecurity and poverty.
- Study plant and animal species classification and distribution.
- Study diversity of Habitats and their dominant and associated species.
- Assess plant and animal species status and abundance.
- Assess drivers and causes behind alteration of ecosystems and their associated species; both natural and human induced factors.
- Set biodiversity sustainable development indicators at both species and ecosystem levels within a Palestinian context.
- Assess the impact of alterations on biodiversity on both ecosystem and species level.
- Conduct training workshops and sessions for decision makers, CBOs, universities, rangers, and locals on biodiversity (with focus on forestry) assessments and management.
- Develop and update flora and fauna and forestry databases.
- Build a herbarium and flora calendar.
- Conduct conservation actions for biodiversity that get in response to national relevant strategies and action plans.
- Develop adequate legislative framework for sustainable biodiversity and agro-biodiversity management.